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64 bits of Awesome

By Dave on May 21th, 2009 under Fighting, N64,

One of my old flames has come back to me, to blissfully whisk me away to a land filled with dreams, rainbows and blue spiky shells.

Yup, that's right. I bought an N64. A pikachu one at that! My sis wanted to get rid of the one I'd basically been suckling off, so I picked it up at a family discount price.

Man, it's as awesome as it ever was. I mean, I suck at some games (has anyone noticed how weird the Goldeneye controls are? One thumb stick? Crazy), but to be fair I sucked at them back in the day as well.

Due to this, I went on an eBay splurge, finding a few old games that'd stuck in my mind. I'd already been given Lylat Wars and Majoras Mask for free, as well as getting Mario Kart 64 and a few pokemon games when buying the N64, but it wasn't enough!

The first thing that beat me into eBay submission was Fighters Destiny. I'm not sure why, I guess with my 360 recently dying, I needed another method to channel my violence into, rather than shouting at people in FPS's.

Fighters Destiny is a (gasp) fighting game, where you have to gain points during rounds to win a match. Different ways of defeating your opponent in that round award different points, first one to the set amount wins. So you can knock them out of the ring, throw them down, use a special knockdown technique or finish them with a special attack.

Generally, I don't like fighting games that much. It usually just ends up being who can face roll the controller the fastest and get lucky. Fighters Destiny really isn't like that. Fighters DestinyFor a start, you don't really have health bars. You have a bar, with health, but you don't lose when it runs out. You just go into a "FINISH HIM" kinda dazed state when you can only move until your bar fills up again. During this time, you opponent can do a special move on you if they pull it off, awarding the max amount of points you can get in one round.

I guess this was one of the things that really appealed to me. It was way different than most things. It meant that you could get the living crap beaten out of you through the whole round, then pull off a tricky counter-throw and win the points for that round. It really stopped the button bashers in their tracks.
The games combos were pretty simple as well, but not too simple enough that mashing the pad pulled off something amazing. It still required some timing in there, but they were still very doable.

It's just ace and still plays really well even today.

So next on my list was a memory expansion pack so I can ACTUALLY PLAY MAJORAS MASK...bastards...and Perfect Dark, one of Alex's best games evvvvvvveeeer. You could almost say it's his perfect favourite game.

The N64 ended up being a really fun part of my childhood, when I think about it I just get that excited feeling I got back then.

If you have any tips on what games I should get next, please do say.

Perhaps I should pay a certain pig a visit...

Wizpig

9 comments

Signups for Character Battle 10 have officially begun!

By Brian on May 20th, 2009 under CBC,

Metal Gear Character Battle Contest

It is officially here, and with that, I bid you all welcome. Welcome to the Metal Gear Character Battle Contest! The theme for this contest was in large part chosen by you last year, as the runner-up in what the next theme should be. This contest comprises sixty-four (64) characters from the Metal Gear series of video games, spanning as far back as the NES, and leading up to the current generation. This is a standard single elimination style, comprised of 64 characters pulled from the series, divided into two divisions. The object here is to gain the most points by correctly predicting winners of each contest battle (a poll in which two video game characters are pitted against each other), in order to win the prize! This post will cover everything you ever wanted to know about this contest. This contest is being hosted on my LiveJournal once again, and also on a brand new web site, Late to the Party.

What's that, you say? What happened to Fantasy World, where the contests have been done since they began? Well, after six years, the brainchild behind it, Joshie (C&T; or CloudANDTidus to some of you) simply no longer has the time to devote to maintaining a community-based website such as FW. However, his devotion to video games and writing about them have not fallen by the wayside, as what can happen in real life, so he has created a new site, one that is more discussion and blog-based (where blog contributors can sound off on all things video games, retro and new alike), called Late to the Party. The site went live earlier this week, and right now, it's looking to expand its pool of blog writers, so, if interested, feel free to express your interest to Joshie at joshuamarketis@clidus.com.

It was also decided by Joshie and I to christen the new site by having my 10th character battle contest on it, and so here we are. The contest will also be held simultaneously on LTTP and LiveJournal, so we've kept the ability for everyone to vote twice per battle.

So what's different in this contest over the last one, Silent Evil? Other than the new site and the theme of this contest, absolutely nothing. The point system and prizes remain the same, where you go to make the bracket is the same, giving returning players the nice familiarity we've come to love in these contests.

To learn what the contest is about, or to refresh yourselves on the points, prizes, and other stuff, including links to begin making your contest entry (and an image gallery of the characters competing), check out the CB10: Metal Gear FAQ today! Returning players may wish to look at the FAQ, as there has been one or two modifications to the rules.

Signups will end at midnight ET, June 12, 2009. I will not accept late entries unless you have a damn good reason. Contest begins around 7:30 ET on Monday, June 15.

As always, fan art is welcome. Also, stay tuned--a series of 5 podcasts for this contest are being planned. Check back when I've posted dates--anyone who wishes to be part of a podcast, let me know. Good luck!

4 comments

Retro? I'll give you retro!

By Tania on May 20th, 2009 under RPG, NES,

Ahh, Zelda. Its puzzle-filled dungeons, its multiple gadgets, its hapless princess and its green-clad hero. Everyone loves Zelda. I love Zelda.

Or, well…I usually do.

Blame it on my compulsive completionism, but when I enjoy a series, I need to play every single installment of it. Even the clunky, crappy first ones. So that's how the idea to give Zelda II: The Adventure of Link a shot popped up. Well, that and my purchase of the Gamecube disc that included Ocarina of Time, Majora's Mask and Zelda I and II. I should've known what to expect before even starting. Maybe I don't have the best reflexes in the world, and maybe I fail at oldschool games, but I still have nightmarish memories of the first opus in the series: unforgivably difficult, no story to speak of, and absolutely no indications as to the order in which to do things. Well, Zelda II is the same. Possibly even worse.

Picture a hybrid between Super Mario and an RPG. And no, you don't get Legend of the Seven Stars (if only!). Link evolves in a mostly sidescrolling environment, gets 3 lives and gains experience points in battle. Pretty bizarre for a Zelda game, but that's not a problem in itself. If you die, you lose a life and restart at the entrance to the current area. But god forbid you should actually get a Game Over. Because that takes you BACK TO THE BEGINNING OF THE GAME. Meaning that you'll have to trek all the way to where you were before dying. And 3 lives whisk by very quickly. There's also the slight problem that getting a Game Over is the only way to save. And that you can't permanently raise your life count.

PUT IT AWAY!!But now we come to the real issue: the enemies. Forget about steep learning curves. Or even 90° ones. In this game, the learning curve forms an acute angle. I actually had to give up trying to beat it on my Gamecube and resort to an emulator. So I could, y'know, save. Otherwise, I'd still be trying to finish the first dungeon *waits for all the booing, whistles and cries of ‘you suck!' to end* There are very limited ways of recovering your life and magic in the field, and the enemies are BRUTALLY unforgiving. Especially Iron Knuckles, who have mind-bogglingly amazing A.I. for a NES game. If you thought they were hard in any of the subsequent Zelda games, you've got another one coming. The blue ones are particularly bad. They continuously zap swords at you, of which they seemingly have an infinite supply. This is probably the closest thing to Sword-Chucks that you'll find outside of 8-Bit Theatre. It also looks disturbingly phallic when they switch to leg strikes. Overall, it's like an infernal game of Pong, where you can't reflect the attacks back.

To compensate for the hair-tearing difficulty, the game does offer a few laffs…at its expense. In a bizarre premonitory flash, Link—who is an adult in this game—allows himself some GTA-like escapades. Every town has a woman in a red dress walking around in front of a house. If you talk to her, she invites Link to come in. And then, all you see is his life bar filling up. Hey, even 8-bit studs need their action. However, this becomes a lot more disturbing when it comes to recovering magic. The method is exactly the same, but Link has to talk to a little granny instead…who then gives him her “special medicine”…

A prime example of bad parenting.Among other laff-worthy things, there's the translation, featuring such timeless classics as the “N°3 TRIFORCE”, or “I AM ERROR”, one of the unforgettable responses that you'll get in your baffling encounters with the denizens of the game. Or the Spell spell. I guess Link has orthography problems…There's also the aptly named Fairy spell, which is used to fly over obstacles. It transforms Link into one of those cute lil' fairies that are commonly used to replenish your health, complete with a red dress and a little crown. It's got to be one of the most impressive spells I've ever encountered: I mean, not only does it shrink you and allow you to fly, but you also get a sex change thrown in. I'm sure Tingle would've loved the concept…But gender-bending mana prowess put aside, another thing this game demonstrates is that Link would make a terrible father.

So I only have 2 more dungeons left to endure before this semi-illiterate iteration of Sleeping Beauty à la sauce Zelda finally grinds to a close. Hopefully I'll manage to get through them without terminal finger cramps. And never look back. Thank god that Zelda has evolved since then. That's probably the one good thing I'll be getting out of this experience: a better appreciation of the more recent Zelda opuses. Nostalgia for oldschool games is all well and good…but you gotta be realistic sometimes: it wasn't ALL better back in Ye Olde Days.

6 comments

Oh, I wish I wish I hadn't killed that fish...

By Joshie on May 19th, 2009 under RPG, NDS, SNES,

A long time ago, in a world that still had such delights such as lolcats and the Cheeky Girls to come, a little game known as Chrono Trigger was conceived inside the little grey cells of Final Fantasy creator Hironobu Sakaguchi. This was a time before the drink abuse and five AM hallucinations convinced him to create a $137 million box office face palm, in which Sakaguchi even succeeded in securing Yuuji Horii and Akira Toriyama of rival Dragon Quest fame to create a world destroying dream team in desperate need of a rock guitar theme song. Being the JRPG nerd that I am then, it will probably surprise you then that I have never played the bastard love-child of the two most popular Japanese series' of all time.

It's rather curious that the classic Square-Enix formula of jazzing up the graphics for games past their sell by date was not used on the love-child, something I can presume was the result of a miscommunication between Square head office and the riverside sweatshop from which ports and remakes are sent out on a rolling conveyer belt. Despite how many lost sells Chrono Trigger DS may have received from not looking as "hip" and "with it" as Imagine Babies, I'm personally delighted that Square took the hit so that Europe could receive the game in its original 2D glory. Besides, they can always remake it again with Chrono voiced by an Australian surfer next year.

When Chrono sleeps he provides the same amount of input as we does awakeChrono is an interesting character by the virtue of being mind blowingly boring. Silent protagonists were all the rage back before Sega showed us how incredible FMV games could really be, but Chrono does an impressive job at not only being a mute, but by also being utterly removed from the world around him. So far in the couple hours of Chrono Trigger that I have played, our cast of merry men have traveled back in time, saved a princess from the claws of an evil foe, returned home only to be sentenced to death, successfully avoided that unscathed and made their houdini escape by traveling into the future. Through this entire experience Chrono has yet to bat an eyelid, and while the other cast members may occasionally address him, they are never really looking for his input, but instead are simply checking to see if he's still conscious out of common decency. All this made me wonder who the hell Chrono even is. This guy has the ladies hanging from his arms, wields a mean sword, has spiffing hair and the ability to travel in time and he still lives with his mother? Really Sakaguchi?

By this point the whole narrative of the game comes into discontent. While I have clearly only seen just a small part of the whole pie, I can already see where it is going. One of the things that really strikes me about Chrono Triggers story is how incredibly light hearted it really is. Our merry crew find themselves in an apocalypse future in which the surviving inhabitants are starving to death and their first reaction seems to be to giggle and laugh. Even when Chrono is sentenced to death by a malicious middle management type, the follow scene proceeds not to show us signs of lost hope or misery, but an escape plan MacGyver would be proud of in which the whole "execution" thing can just be shrugged off. Looking back at what Squaresoft would later produce; it's surprisingly what a difference a couple years can make.

Reading this you probably get the impression that I absolutely hate Chrono Trigger. Following such hype and fanfare the cynic in me actually wanted to dislike the game just to prove the world wrong, and yet I simply can't. Despite it's questionable hero, story and tone, the raw classic JRPG game play is so pristinely perfect that I've become hooked to it like a baby to breasts. The musical score composed by Yasunori Mitsuda and Nobuo Uematsu is just incredible despite the DS's craptastic speakers and the 2D presentation of a world that allows you to span history itself is just gorgeous.

While the tale Chrono Trigger has to tell has yet to truly hook me, the game play is more than I could have ever asked for. I will return to report how my feelings have changed when I have made more progress, but for now, why not let me know what you think?

10 comments

Hello stranger. What're ya buyin'?

By Joshie on May 18th, 2009 under General,

It is with great pleasure that I welcome one and all to the best online video games blog in Saudi Arabia. In these ye ol' parts you won't find much in the way of breaking news and it's highly unlikely that we will actually put a review score on something (honest to God, it's not because we're lazy, it's just that we couldn't agree if our scale should go up to eleven). Instead we brush away the politics and fanboy arguments to concentrate on the only thing that truly matters; the pornography games.

Its shockingly cozy ya know?Unfortunately, renting a beached oil tanker in the middle east as your head quarters isn't nearly as cheap as certain newspaper ads would have you believe, and as such we wouldn't quite describe our situation in the horrors of an economic downturn as "rollin' in bling". So you'll forgive us if we are a little behind the times, and don't be surprised if we discover an incredible retro game some decades after its original release. Secretly some of us might just suck at completing games in a timely manner, but whatever the reason for being a little "late to the party", it doesn't stop meaningful discussion being any less relevant.

You might even learn something. Unlikely, but it's nice to want things.

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